by Matt Hill – MMAWeekly.com
Kurt Pellegrino had won three straight fights and was cruising through the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s lightweight talent with successive submission victories over Nate Mohr, Junior Assuncao and Jesse Chilton; when his win streak crashed to a halt as he collided with the man UFC fans know simply as ‘Daddy.’
Joe Stevenson, “Daddy’s” alter ego, stopped Pellegrino’s progression in the division by reeling in a hard fought unanimous decision victory at UFC 74 last August.
Pellegrino broke his hand in the match with Stevenson and told MMAWeekly Radio that because of the hand he had to take a couple of months off to heal up and recover. Now, coming off both a loss and an injury, he can hardly stand his anticipation to get back into the ring.
The man that Pellegrino will meet in the cage at UFC Fight Night is none other than Brazilian Jiu-jitsu wizard Alberto Crane. Crane has but one UFC fight – a TKO loss to Roger Huerta – but fans shouldn’t expect the same man who was defeated by Huerta to come out tonight.
Crane brings a varied arsenal of weapons into the Octagon with him any time he fights, but there is no doubt that what he is most known for is his proficiency on the ground. Of Crane’s eight mixed martial arts wins, seven are by submission, evidencing the fact that he is a force to be reckoned with once a fight hits the mat, regardless of whom his opponent might be.
Pellegrino is no stranger to this fact, though, and he told MMAWeekly, “I think I’ve watched every fight that he’s fought in King of the Cage and every fight he’s fought since he’s been in the UFC.
“I’m not really worried, you know. I know he’s a phenomenal grappler and he’s so great on the floor, he’s a master at it, but to be honest with you, I’m not even really worried about the ground game at all.”
One might find it hard to believe that Pellegrino isn’t at all apprehensive about the prospect of facing such a talented submission fighter, but he sees it differently.
“I played Jiu-jitsu with some of the best guys in the world when I trained at Renzo’s; and when I was at (American Top Team) I trained with all of those guys and they are phenomenal Jiu-jitsu guys,” he said.
“To be honest with you, I’d like to stay on my feet, but when that cage door shuts I’m pretty much reckless. I was going to stand up with Joe Stevenson the whole entire fight and I ended up taking him down every single round.”
As always, his No. 1 objective in this fight is victory. Beyond the obvious, though, Pellegrino stated, “To be honest with you, my goal for this fight is to submit him. If I take him down, I want to submit him, that’s my goal. If I can submit him, I can submit anyone in this weight class.”